See: c / a’s ‘THE PRIMER’: South London duo lead us further astray into generative audiovisual AI


LONDON audiovisual merry pranksters c / a aren’t quite like anyone you’ve encountered before. Nor me, for that matter.

They’re operating in a highly conceptual sphere where AI, generative algorithms and light-touch flesh intervention are making music; there’s others creating out at this mind-bending edge, loosening the reins of human control – witness the video for Max Cooper’s recent single drop, “Leaving This Place” – guaranteed to blow your mind.

Today they’ve pulled back the curtain on the second single from their darkly jestering full-length album, THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW TO HAVE FUN, which comes as the self-defined ‘magical digitalism’ of “THE PRIMER”; watch below.

Part of their multivalent explorations is to undertake a conceptual study of ‘intuition’ as it relates to algorithmic musical creation. The simple melodies of “THE PRIMER” are ‘conjured’ through the neural network of a trained artificial intelligence model dating back to the earliest self-educational programming exercises.

c / a say: “Created during the summer of 2020 in the tradition of medieval speedcore, esoteric grime and horse riding ambient, their debut album THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW TO HAVE FUN is presented as the fragments of a love story unfolding in multiple layers of time and space amongst various prominent themes. Such themes include allegories of the occult of mass media mind control, the dangers of overindulging fantasies or illusions, ‘primers’ that walk among us, criticism on the concept of power and economic world order, undefined holes in the sky and a surreal visionary of England’s fauna and flora. 

“The album’s brute use of medieval and Gaelic music samples is brought together with bubblegum video-games-on-acid techno, FM sound design, drone doom, and a relatively abstract form of UK grime.”

c / a began their work in 2018 with the duo’s first live A/V performance HYPER_HOLOGRAM, which premiered at Sonar Istanbul and then followed at TodaysArt, Holland. Their other works include; M Ξ T A P L Ξ X, an experiment of a virtual environment powered by blockchain; and BLEEDING EDGE 2020, a series of internet streams and videos published during the first half of 2020.

The duo, we’re told have also conceptualized THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW TO HAVE FUN as a spectacular live audiovisual show to be performed under the name of the fictional entity, ENGLAND’S COUNCIL OF LEGISLATION AND GOVERNING BODY OF HYPER REAL SIMULATIONS AND CONSTRUCTS, towards the end of the year.

One final line from the duo: “The income from the sales of THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW TO HAVE FUN LP and apparel will be spent on the good fortune of our stupid Earth.”

c / a’s THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW TO HAVE FUN will be released digitally and on transparent green vinyl on July 9th; you can order your copy from Bandcamp, now. Connect with c / a on Instagram.

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